The new BioTools Innovator accelerator program awarded its first $200,000 grand prize to Machine Bio after a live vote last week.

Claremont, California-based startup Machine Bio was founded by David Marash, who serves as CEO. 

“Machine Bio’s mission is to develop and commercialize a transformative protein expression platform that drastically minimizes the process of making pure protein to a single step,” Marash said in a news release. “This award represents a recognition of the need and opportunity for radical innovation in the foundational workflows of our industry and a major milestone for Machine Bio in the earliest stages of our growth.”

Los Angeles-based BioTools Innovator said it received more than 160 applications for its 2021 accelerator program, inviting 23 companies to pitch during the BioTools Innovator Road Tour before narrowing them down to 10 slots in this year’s cohort.

“Machine Bio is developing a product with the potential to dramatically speed up protein synthesis which may have many downstream benefits in such areas as drug development and therapeutic manufacturing,” Kathryn Zavala, managing director of Los Angeles-based BioTools Innovator, said in the news release. “I am thrilled to see their hard work recognized. The goal of the BioTools Innovator program is to advance life science tools innovation, and this award will make a significant impact in helping this early-stage company reach their next milestone.”

The four other finalists — Celldom, Clara Biotech, EpiCypher and Glyphic Biotechnologies — each won $10,000.

Celldom, based in San Carlos, California, is developing a technology that enables the paired analysis of phenotypic and genomic heterogeneity in large populations of cells.

Clara Biotech's ExoRelease tool

Clara Biotech’s ExoRelease tool [Image courtesy of BioTools Innovator]

Lawrence, Kansas-based Clara Biotech is developing an exosome isolation platform. The startup also won the $5,000 Best Video Award for its one-minute pitch.

EpiCypher, based in Durham, North Carolina, is developing a multiomic assay that quantitatively maps DNA methylation and chromatin elements for drug discovery.

Glyphic Biotechnologies, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is developing a single-molecule, massively parallel, de novo protein sequencing platform.